Taking a walk around Porto I couldn’t NOT have a post with all the beautiful tiles and buildings we saw! Known as being THE place to go for glorious tiles (as well as copious amounts of delicious Port wine..) it certainly didn’t disappoint and is definitely a place I want to return to one day!
Street Art in Porto
It’s not all just about the tiles (although it is mainly…) there’s also some great street art to be found, so that’s where i’ll begin! There are works by artists Bordalo, like the rabbit, that people travel specifically to see (me!). Set on the corner of a building on the other side of the river, in Port wine territory. The huge 3D rabbit is created from painted rubbish and scrap metal and is incredible.
Then there is a peppering of artwork to be found on large gable walls, as well as along winding back streets, throughout the city centre and beyond. I’m already pining to go back to spend more time, specifically on the street art here. It’s a hotbed of creativity in Porto that extends beyond the hand crafted tiles that form the base for the rich creative heritage here.
Tiles of Porto
The tiles that adorn the buildings really ARE, in a way, a form of street art. They are an expression of character and place, and I don’t think I saw any two tiles (buildings) that were alike – which is pretty impressive!
Painstakingly painted by hand, the skill and technique that goes into these facades is incredible. I had a go at creating some tiles myself… I wrote all about my tile painting experience with Francisco here. It’s certainly something i’d recommend doing – an airbnb experience or similar, in the places you visit. It’s something I like to have a go at wherever I go now. Something creative, and “local”. It gives a new perspective to a place and you get to meet new people from all over the world!
Take a Walk with Me…
Looking inside these buildings is an experience in itself. There are many churches and buildings of interest in Porto. You can go up the tower for unparalleled 360° views of the city, cross the famous bridge, and even pay a visit to one of the oldest (and coolest) book shops in the world.
One of the most visited places is the central train station. Here you can find a beautifully preserved mural of tiles, covering the entirety of the internal walls. Directly outside sit 3 large boulders, also adorned with tiles. These sit outside as a 3D installation, really eye catching!
Over the road from the station begins the main street down to the river. Here you can find more street art, including a huge cat painted on a gable wall, as well as many painted electricity boxes. You’ll also come across Miguel Feliz selling his work on the walls of a building site, turning something mundane into something beautiful. Such a wonderful place!
If you get the chance to venture out of Porto, many of the surrounding towns and villages are also worth a visit. Perfect for escaping the tourist throng while still seeing traditional Portuguese tiled buildings. We visited nearby Braga and the Bom Jesus do Monte (Good Jesus of the Mount). This is a spectacular piece of architecture set into the hillside overlooking Braga. A Neoclassical church sits at the top of a zigzagging Baroque staircases – very impressive! The day we visited was wet and very misty.. Which created a fantastically eerie setting and was great for taking photos! Let me know what you think?!
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*All photos, unless expressed otherwise, have been taken by Anna Thomson for OiOi Arts and they maintain full copyright.